We asked readers of New Church Connection: “How has art positively impacted your spirituality and vice versa?”
Here are some of the answers we received. Tell us your experience by commenting below.
I only feel creative if I'm humble, which only happens if I'm open to the flow of love from The Lord. (Glen, artist)
The Word is the impetus behind our music. Sharing the stories in scripture brings healing and comfort. (Lori, singer-songwriter)
Great question. To me art and spirituality are tied very closely together. Music is the art medium that resonates most with me personally. It can capture an emotion or a state of mind in such a powerful way. When trying to write a song, I almost always start with a feeling, and from there I just try to express it. I guess to really answer that question, I also have to define what spiritually is. I’m going to say that spirituality is the state of one’s heart. With that definition I would say that creating art is often about expressing my current state of spirituality. You might say that; as a selfie captures the state of one’s face, art captures the state of one’s heart.
I have also tried writing songs based on Bible stories, which was a really cool project for me. There’s this idea in education that a really good way to learn something, is to try teaching it to someone else. I felt there was a really similar principle happening while writing these Biblically based songs. It made me learn the story, internalize the meaning of the story, and then express that feeling. I could still tell you every tiny detail of the stories I wrote songs about.
I’ve been talking about writing songs, but I also get a lot out of listening to music. Everyone knows it can enhance whatever mood you are in, or bring you into a different mood. It can bring such joy, and I also love sad music. To me there’s a beauty in sad music. There’s an honesty in it that I find so powerful. It can help you realize what you are lacking, and what you really want. I think it also helps you empathize with people’s pain – which everyone has some of, even though we often hide it.
Another thing that comes to mind with this question is the Bible itself. I’ve been listening to Jonathan Rose’s “Spirit and Life Bible Study” and I’ve been realizing that the Bible is the coolest piece of art ever created. I almost feel like reading the Bible is an art in itself as well. There is so much imagery, so many connections and references throughout, and so much meaning behind it all. (Ethan, singer-songwriter)
I do my best work when I don't focus on the outcome but get into enjoying the process. (Serena, artist)
Singing is when I feel closest to God, especially singing with a group of people. There is something about lending my voice in harmony with others that is just so sacred and special. Music is my go-to. If I’m happy, I’ll sing about it and share my joy with others. If I’m sad, I’ll sing about it and gain clarity about the situation. Without the use of words, God can tell me the most amazing things through music.(Michelle, musician)
Painting is a time I feel close to the Lord. It is a time for fully dwelling in the present. It is a time of prayer for me. When I get stuck or frustrated painting, it's because I've focused on critical and negative thoughts instead of on the divine flow and the blessing of creating beauty. (Bronwen, painter)
For me there is almost no distinction between Art and Spirituality. When one creates purely from one's Heart, there you may find likeness of the creator. Just as the Great Artist, Our Father God, The Almighty Creator is found within all of his creation. Art is a gift from God. It is a way of meditation. A way of bringing the internal to the external, so that others may seek & understand the meaning for themselves. As such, it is almost a parable, but the story is visually told, and not put into words. At times, I'll get an idea for a visual story, to find out it was all in all there waiting for such expression. My intent is put aside as realization unfolds and manifests it's self. When I find myself lost & found in my creation, these are indeed my best works. To let go & let God flow through me as a messenger is an Awesome Blessing. I have the notion that I ought to share my message of Love with the World. (Holly, artist)
I was raised in a non religious home but learned about the Bible stories through art history, so I came into study of the bible and the writings with some knowledge of biblical events, poetry, and symbolism found in historical depictions a spiritual nature. (Debra, art historian)
The art of photography requires many skills, all of which may be applied to the regeneration of our spirit. God creates each and every moment captured in a photograph as well as all the subject matter within an image which is the likeness of God. Awareness of all of our connection to God is strengthened through the perfection of regeneration. (Jared, photographer)
My spirituality has brought me a sense of connection and hope with God, which has led me to create art classes for those living with Alzheimer's. I believe what Swedenborg has revealed, that we are all angels in the making, even if a person has apparently lost their memories. Their memories are not lost, only needing to be brought back through music, storytelling, and art-creating. It is my favorite thing to create such a space for these experiences to happen. (Tryn, musician and storyteller)